Obama Ad Outdraws His DNC Acceptance Speech in Prelims

Oct 30, 2008  •  Post A Comment

More households tuned in to see Sen. Barack Obama’s half-hour political advertisement on NBC than on any of the other major broadcast networks that ran the ad last night.
NBC drew a 6.7 rating/11 share in households of 56 metered markets, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research data.
The ratings data is preliminary and subject to change once fast nationals are released later today. (For those numbers, click here.)
Sen. Obama’s campaign bought a half-hour of advertising in prime time on CBS, NBC, Fox, MSNBC, BET, TVOne and Univision, the first campaign to do so in 16 years.
According to Nielsen, all networks airing the spot simultaneously drew a 21.7 in metered markets. For comparison’s sake, the lowest-rated presidential debate this year earned a 34.7 rating in metered markets.
Across the major broadcast networks, the ad drew a 6.1 average rating in households of 56 metered markets. That was 41% better than broadcast coverage of Day 4 of this year’s Democratic National Convention, when Sen. Obama accepted his party’s nomination.
On CBS, the ad posted a 6.1/10, making it the second-lowest-rated half-hour of the night on the network. On Fox, the ad ended the night with a 5.0/8 following World Series coverage.
(Updated 9:15 a.m.: Added fifth paragraph)


  1. So how many people watched it?

  2. I really don’t understand this country any more, we all cry and scream about equality and fairness, and look how unfair McCain has been treated by the media.
    Palin gets reamed for 150K to buy presentable clothes for campaiging. And Obama gets praised for spending $70 mil on a 30 min TV Ad? Are you serious? And Obama cares about the poor the downward economy but he has the ego to spend $70 mil to promote himself?
    This blatant biase is beyond belief now. BTW do the calculation and Plain spent .2% of what Obamas ad spent, its not even 1%!!!

  3. The answer to your question is quite simple. Obama’s TV ad was an appropriate use of campaign funds and Palin’s wardrobe was an inappropriate use of contributions to the RNC.
    A campaign is about promoting yourself. It is not about ego, it is about winning. If you can not see the difference, you are simply to partisan to engage in a reasonable discussion.

  4. I will also point out that about 95% of the complaining about Govenor Palin’s wardrobe came from Republicans.

  5. i think the real reason is to represent oneself as a fighter for the middle class and then spend 150k on clothes is more than hypocritical it is disingenuous … it is however clearly in character with their interests they do represent i.e. big business and the wealthy

  6. It costs about $3.5 million (some said $5 million) to buy TV time. RNC certainly has money to do the same if they choose to (McCain probably can do so, if he spent his money wisely.) It really bother me since September, “What happened to McCain?!” McCain’s VP choice also screams “I am old” when they stand side by side. Oh, well. I think McCain will still win because you know what…

  7. I didn’t see Obama as promoting himself as much as he was promoting America. Typical of an Obama presentation, I came away not thinking about my own problems but the problems we all share and more important, what I can do to help others. With McCain and company all I get is how are people different from me. With Obama and company I look for common ground. I have to say, I much prefer not hating or mistrusting other Americans or regions of the nation. However many millions of dollars raised by contributions from however many millions of donors was money well spent in my opinion.

  8. He didn’t spend 70 million. Come on. Sounds like a McCain/Palin tactic: lying.

  9. Obama’s ad was paid for by donations from his supporters. As a donor to the campaign, that is exactly how I would have spent the funds. It’s not unfair to Mccain, the networks by law has to offer him the same time at same cost. His uncoordinated campaign didn’t think of it and/or couldn’t afford it, while defending traditionally “red” states.

  10. Hey joesmith,
    Mr. Obama was “trusted” with dollars donated to his campaign for, guess what?, ADVERTISING!!!
    Not to buy clothes, not to pay his mortgage or to give to the poor. He was entrusted by average citizens to guess what?, PROMOTE HIMSELF!! And the average amount donated was guess what?, $86,00 per person that gave to his campaign.
    If he’d done anything else with the dough, the likes of you would want to run him out of town!
    It’s an election joesmith, not a freindly game of darts at the bar…..

  11. I find this funny because the Obama campaign had people holding Acceptance Watch Party fundraisers. So, to say that less people watched is a little odd considering that no such push was made.

  12. the headline is just another example of the media bias. the reference to beating something not known by the majority of the readers leads one to believe it achieved massive viewership. while it did just fine, the numbers are relative.
    If the headline said, “Obama Ad less than half the debate audience”, the reader’s first impression would be 180 deg opposite of the current headline.
    “Tampa Bay Bests Last Year’s Finish” or “Tampa Fails to Win the Big One”? Same story, different spin.

  13. Bobby—-Excellent point. I totally agree. The tone of the entire article is skewed by the headline writer. I’ve grown so accustomed to the media leaning one way, I don’t even notice it anymore. That’s scary.

  14. I’ve seen many videos of people attending political rallies saying they won’t vote for Obama because they simply do not know enough about him. So he spends money to take the time to try and let everyone know more about him and they turn around and say its egotistical to spend money to tell us about himself. Isn’t that what campaigning is, selling yourself? If a Republican had done it they call it a master stroke, or a media blitz or something colorful and positive.

  15. Ditto! As a supporter who contributed $15, this was a great way to spend the money.

  16. Now the only real question is: was is it effective? did the spot sway anyone? Who’s getting the numbers on that? I’m sure someone out there is polling that question around.

  17. It apparently was money well spent if the traditional basis for judging advertising effectiveness is used, ratings:
    NBC – Viewers: 9.85 million (#1), A18-49: 3.0/ 8 (#1)
    CBS – Viewers: 8.65 million (#2), A18-49: 2.3/ 6 (#3)
    Fox – Viewers: 7.92 million (#3), A18-49: 2.8/ 8 (#2)
    Total 26.42 million viewers and an 8.1 rating/22 share among adults 18-49.
    I think that answers the first comment posted also.

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